Diversity in action – Leading the way in our industry

Nov 30, 2022 | Hemisphere, Insight, Whakaaro

Hemisphere Managing Director, Dr Tim Antric, addresses the importance of fostering a diverse work environment and what it means for the wider industry.

Two people in the office, reviewing workUnconscious bias, diversity, inclusion, equity. These words have become part of the workplace landscape in recent years. But what do they mean for our industry? Diversity is the hot topic – getting it right means we can develop marketing and communications that hit the mark, that we can attract and retain top talent, and it translates into business performance.

Kantar found that inclusion and diversity make ads both creative and effective. In my own PhD research, people challenged the inclusion of Māori, Pasifika and others in advertisements. They described the risks of stigmatising communities. Hemisphere Insight has also reported this in work with many culturally and linguistically diverse groups in Aotearoa. And no-one will be surprised if I mention the gender stereotyping typically seen in advertising.

But inclusion does matter. It contributes to long term equity – seeing diversity in all its forms is becoming a critical issue for the advertising and marketing industry. Hemisphere has a long history of diversity – we were founded by women; our ownership is diverse, and we’ve always had a gender balance.

Integrating Māori worldviews into our work

We’re on our own journey to integrate te ao Māori into the work of the agency, and this has led to some unique ways of working.

It’s not enough to simply employ Māori and have Māori shareholders. We’ve worked hard to develop partnerships with Māori social enterprises, Māori design agencies, and Māori consultants. This shifts the power dynamic. Te Tiriti provides the model for us, and embracing mātauranga, tikanga and reo in everything we do is critical.

I’ve spent my life living and working with people whose voices have been ignored. This has included people with lived experience of poverty, illness, unemployment… and increasingly, Māori: rangatahi, takatāpui, and others. This experience underpins the journey we’re on at Hemisphere.

Bringing together the voices of our communities

Diversity isn’t just about a variety of faces around the table. It’s the histories, the worldviews, the ways of thinking, the ways of communicating, the ways of engaging – that’s what diversity means for us.

Every organisation has its own journey towards diversity. Our agency committed to it long ago. We don’t talk about it much – we just get on and do it. Diversity of people – age, gender, background, ethnicity, sexuality – brings diversity of thinking to every challenge, every programme, every campaign.

This is why diversity matters to us. The best ideas come when we bring together our collective brains, our experiences, our worldviews to create something new.